Possession of Children

Shared Parenting With Texas Child Possession Orders

If only divorced parents could mutually agree on meaningful possession schedules while co-parenting their kids! But since many cannot or will not, the Texas Courts generally use a One-Size-Fits-All Standard Possession order for all children over three years of age.  The Texas Legislature over time has expanded the schedule to make access a little more flexible. Does this always squarely meet or suit the needs of a child and her/his relationship with both parents?

The Section 153.001 of the Texas Family Code is the State’s policy on possession schedules and its formation:

  1. Assure that children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interests of their child;

  2. Provide a safe, stable, and nonviolent environment for the child;

  3. Encourage parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their child after the parents have separated or dissolved the marriage.

The Texas Family Code, section 153.002 also states that “the best interest of the child shall always be the primary consideration of the court in determining the issues of conservatorship, possession of, and access of the child”. Because of this the Texas Courts are given wide range in determining a child’s best interest in possession schedules.

What about fair and equal Parent Possession Schedules? This is easier desired than accomplished! In E. Mavis Hetherington’s book, For Better or for Worse, Three types of co-parenting relationships are identified:

  1. Conflicted: Parents have frequent conflict, communicate badly, and have difficulty disengaging emotionally from the marriage (20-25%)

  2. Parallel: Parents who emotionally disengage from each other, with little communication and who usually do not coordinate child-related issues between themselves although conflict is minimal. (Over 50%)

  3. Cooperative: Parents who work together to actively plan their children’s lives and support each other. They work toward conflict free possession schedules in a nurturing parenting situation. (25%-30%)

Despite many separation and divorce related conflicts among parents, the main beneficial recipients of shared parenting are the children. When both parents are positively engaged in the parent-child relationship, probabilities are much higher for positive adjustment, better academic achievement and positive mental development of a child.

In Johnston & Campbell’s book, Impasses of Divorce, their findings support that the majority of parents substantially reduce their pre marital conflict within 2-3 years after divorce. Regrettably, 8%-20% of parents remain in a state of chronic high conflict!

How can Parents promote or enhance shared parenting in possession schedules?

Many parents will usually find a way or the mechanism to eventually work together for the benefit of the child, no matter how contentious the divorce. Even if shared parenting is not possible, parallel co-parenting reducing conflict may be acceptable. But if the parental conflict is high, try to use and enforce a possession schedule that limits parent contact during possession exchanges of the child and accordingly reduce conflict opportunity.

Parents: Leave your conflicts at home. You are divorced!  Concentrate on what is best for your child.  You are the lifetime primary example for your child on how families communicate.  Be mature and responsible and show your child that no matter what has occurred in the past, and regardless of fault, your joint goal is an emotionally healthy child over the long haul.

 

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Supervised Child Visitation for Texas Fathers

What is Supervised Visitation? Supervised visitation takes place between the non-custodial parent and her/his child (ren) in the presence of a third party or family agency who oversees the visit to monitor and ensure the child’s physical and emotional safety.  When supervision is ordered, possession and visitation are supervised by a neutral third party or family agency usually with the capacity to enforce effective measures that are normally ordered and enforced by the courts.

What is the purpose of Supervised Visitations? A supervised visit is for the benefit of the child to have safe contact with the non-custodial parent without having to participate in the parents’ mutual conflicts or other potentially dangerous circumstances.

The following is a potential list of acts and circumstances that usually occur before the custodial parent will request, and the court may order, supervised visitation between the child and the non-custodial parent:

  • Violence or physical endangerment – A noncustodial parent may be denied visitation rights if the parent has abused the child or threatened physical violence.

  • Emotional harm – Where sufficient proof is offered of potential emotional harm or where standard visitation has detrimentally affected a child’s emotional or physical welfare.

  • Child’s l wishes – A court may consider the child’s wishes as to visitation.  The weight given to a child’s preference is dependent on the child’s age, emotional stability, maturity and motives.

  • Abduction – There must be a showing that there is a strong imminent probability of abduction to limit visitation on this basis.

  • Substance abuse – A parent who abuses drugs or alcohol may be ordered to supervise visitation restrictions if the conduct endangers the child or if the parent uses abusive language and/or mistreats the child.

  • Mental illness –Mental incapacity may be a reason for supervised visitation only if it is determined by the court that there is a reasonable potential for harm to the child due to such mental illness.

  • Sexual behavior – Courts rarely deny visitation solely on the basis of a non-marital heterosexual or same-sex relationship.  Courts will, however, cancel overnight visitation by a child with a parent because of the parent’s cohabitation on a showing of an adverse and material negative impact on the child.

  • Incarceration – Visitations for the incarcerated may be suspended only on a showing that such visits are detrimental to the child.

What are the options for Supervised Visitations?

  1. Presence of a “neutral” third party: examples would be grandparent or other family member, friends of the family, close neighbors, and other child care providers.

  2. Presence of the custodial parent: This option is sometimes used when the child is very young. If this option is used the parents must work very hard to not engage in conflict affecting the child.

  3. Presence at a neutral location and monitored by professionals. These sites are staffed by professional and volunteers are trained for supervised visits. The expense these supervised visits can be very costly and may create a deterrent to access and possession by the non-custodial parent. Such agencies may also provide reports and recommendation to the court based on the success or failure of the supervised visits.  These recommendations assist the courts in making informed decisions regarding supervision and whether continued supervision is actually associated and necessary or in the best interest of the child(ren).

By Nacol Law Firm | Possession of Children
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Ho! Ho! Ho! Texas Children’s Visitation Schedules and the Holidays

The Holiday season is now upon us and hopefully all parents have worked out the upcoming visitation schedules for the 2012 Holiday Season. But if not you need to be working on it now! Here is a reminder of the current Texas Family Law
Code’s Standard Possession Order for Holidays.

§ 153.314. Holiday Possession Unaffected by Distance Parents Reside Apart.
The following provisions govern possession of the child for certain specific holidays and supersede conflicting weekend or Thursday periods of possession without regard to the distance the parents reside apart. The possessory conservator and the managing conservator shall have rights of possession of the child as follows:

Texas Family Law Code’s Standard Visitation Guidelines for Christmas Break:
(1) the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child in even-numbered years beginning at 6 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the Christmas school vacation and ending at noon on December 28, and the managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in odd-numbered years;
(2) the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child in odd-numbered years beginning at noon on December 28 and ending at 6 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that vacation, and the managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in even-numbered years;

Texas Family Law Code’s Standard Visitation Guidelines for Thanksgiving:
(3) the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child in odd-numbered years, beginning at 6 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school before Thanksgiving and ending at 6 p.m. on the following Sunday, and the managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in even-numbered years;

Texas Family Law Code’s Standard Visitation Guidelines for Child’s Birthday:
(4) the parent not otherwise entitled under this standard order to present possession of a child on the child’s birthday shall have possession of the child beginning at 6 p.m. and ending at 8 p.m. on that day, provided that the parent picks up the child from the residence of the conservator entitled to possession and returns the child to that same place;

Texas Family Law Code’s Standard Visitation Guidelines for Father’s Day:
(5) if a conservator, the father shall have possession of the child beginning at 6 p.m. on the Friday preceding Father’s Day and ending on Father’s Day at 6 p.m., provided that, if he is not otherwise entitled under this standard order to present possession of the child, he picks up the child from the residence of the conservator entitled to possession and returns the child to that same place;

Texas Family Law Code’s Standard Visitation Guidelines for Mother’s Day:
(6) if a conservator, the mother shall have possession of the child beginning at 6 p.m. on the Friday preceding Mother’s Day and ending on Mother’s Day at 6 p.m., provided that, if she is not otherwise entitled under this standard order to present possession of the child, she picks up the child from the residence of the conservator entitled to possession and returns the child to that same place.

Texas child visitation orders may differ from the norm to accommodate family situations so you should always check your decree first! If in doubt about your holiday visitation time, contact an attorney who can help you to make sure nothing happens to affect this special season with your children. ‘Tis the Season To Be Jolly’!

By Nacol Law Firm | Possession of Children
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Rights and Duties of a Parent – Joint Managing Conservator in Texas

Rights and Duties of a Parent –  Joint Managing Conservator in Texas.
Waiver To the Guidelines is a Matter of Court Discretion

As a joint managing conservator of a child in a divorce proceeding in Texas, unless special circumstances arise justifying a variance from the Guidelines, the Court will normally order guideline code rights and duties and a parent will be awarded the following:

1.the right to receive information from any other conservator of the child concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child.

2.the right to confer with the other parent to the extent possible before making a decision concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child.

3.the right of access to medical, dental, psychological, and educational records of the child.

4.the right to consult with a physician, dentist, or psychologist of the child.

5.the right to consult with school officials concerning the child’s welfare and educational status, including school activities.

6.the right to attend school activities.

7.the right to be designated on the child’s records as a person to be notified in case of an emergency.

8.the right to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment during an emergency involving an immediate danger to the health and safety of the child.

9.the right to manage the estate of the child to the extent the estate has been created by the parent/conservator or the parent/conservator’s family.

10.the duty to inform the other conservator of the child in a timely manner of significant information concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child; and

11.the duty to inform the other conservator of the child if the conservator resides with for at least thirty days, marries, or intends to marry a person who the conservator knows is registered as a sex offender under chapter 62 of the Code of Criminal Procedure or is currently charged with an offense for which on conviction the person would be required to register under that chapter.  IT IS ORDERED that this information shall be tendered in the form of a notice made as soon as practicable, but not later than the fortieth day after the date the conservator of the child begins to reside with the person or on the tenth day after the date the marriage occurs, as appropriate.  IT IS ORDERED that the notice must include a description of the offense that is the basis of the person’s requirement to register as a sex offender or of the offense with which the person is charged.  WARNING:  A CONSERVATOR COMMITS AN OFFENSE PUNISHABLE AS A CLASS C MISDEMEANOR IF THE CONSERVATOR FAILS TO PROVIDE THIS NOTICE.

12.the duty of care, control, protection, and reasonable discipline of the child.

13.the duty to support the child, including providing the child with clothing, food, shelter, and medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure.

14.the right to consent for the child to medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure.

15.the right to direct the moral and religious training of the child.

16.Only one parent shall have the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of child in a specific geographical area, which is commonly the county in which the child currently resides and the contiguous counties thereto.

17.the right to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment involving invasive procedures may be subject to agreement, an independent right or an exclusive right;

18.the right to consent to psychiatric and psychological treatment of the child may be subject to agreement, an independent right or an exclusive right;

19.Only one parent shall have the exclusive right to receive and give receipt for periodic payments for the support of the child and to hold or disburse these funds for the benefit of the child;

20.the right to represent the child in legal action and to make other decisions of substantial legal significance concerning the child may be subject to agreement, an independent right or an exclusive right;

21.the right to consent to marriage and to enlistment in the armed forces of the United States may be subject to agreement, an independent right or an exclusive right;

22.the right to make decisions concerning the child’s education may be subject to agreement, an independent right a joint right or an exclusive right;

23.except as provided by section 264.0111 of the Texas Family Code, the right to the services and earnings of the child may be subject to agreement, an independent right or an exclusive right;

24.except when a guardian of the child’s estate or a guardian or attorney ad litem has been appointed for the child, the right to act as an agent of the child in relation to the child’s estate if the child’s action is required by a state, the United States, or a foreign government may be subject to agreement, an independent right or an exclusive right; and

25.the right to manage the estate of the child to the extent the estate has been created by community property or the joint property of the parent/conservator may be subject to agreement, an independent right or an exclusive right.

In accordance with section 153.001 of the Texas Family Code, it is the public policy of Texas to assure that children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child, to provide a safe, stable, and nonviolent environment for the child, and to encourage parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their child after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage.  The Court will therefore normally establish the primary residence of the child in the county where the child currently resides and/or a contiguous county thereto, and the parties shall not remove the child from such county for the purpose of changing the primary residence of child until there is a modification to the existing order of the court of continuing jurisdiction or a written agreement signed by the parties and filed with the court.

The geographical restriction on the residence of the child may be lifted or modified if, at the time the primary parent with the right to establish residence wishes to remove the child from the county for the purpose of changing the primary residence of the child, the other parent does not reside in that county or a contiguous county thereto.

Time constraints, employment issues of the primary Joint Managing Conservator, and other material factors may come into play when a Joint Managing Conservator requests waiver of the geographical restrictions.  It customarily is a very difficult, but not always insurmountable, burden to achieve a geographical restriction waiver.  The success, consistency and regularity of the non-primary conservator’s possession and access to the child is a factor the court will view in making a ruling.  Frequently, an agreement to adjust the amount of support and/or transportation costs comes into play in resolving such disputes.

By Nacol Law Firm | Child Custody . Possession of Children
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Please contact father’s rights Dallas Attorney Mark Nacol, or father’s rights Dallas Attorney Julian Nacol with the Nacol Law Firm P.C., for legal insight to your rights as a father. Both attorney Mark Nacol, and attorney Julian Nacol , provide counsel in the area of family law including divorce, father’s rights, interstate jurisdiction, child support, child custody, visitation, paternity, parent alienation, modifications, property division, asset division and more. Attorney Mark A. Nacol is board certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Our attorneys at The Nacol Law Firm P.C. serve clients throughout Texas, including Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Grayson, Kaufman, Rockwall and Tarrant counties and the communities of Addison, Allen, Arlington, Carrollton, Dallas, Fort Worth, Frisco, Garland, Grapevine, Highland Park, McKinney, Mesquite, Plano, Prosper, Richardson, Rowlett and University Park, Murphy,Wylie, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Irving, along with surrounding DFW areas.

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